THE BLOG

Learning 'How to Be Sick'

07/20/2010 02:14 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

How one particular book ends up on the top of the nightstand stack is anyone's guess. But this soon-to-be released book, How to Be Sick, a Buddhist-inspired guide for the chronically ill and their caregivers, by Toni Bernhard, was even more of a long shot. I am not sick; in fact, I pride myself on being healthier than I have been in years. My daily meditation and yoga practice is deeply rooted in a routine that is shockingly consistent and satisfying. My life work is all about "how to be well" so you may wonder, why have I become completely enamored with Toni Bernhard's new book?

It was clear from the moment I read her bio that Toni's unpredictable turn of events could have just as easily happened to me. Here was the classic smart, successful career woman with a busy and fulfilling life. A lawyer, professor, wife and mother who took a short trip to Europe and got sick. This has happened to many the well-heeled traveler on occasion. The difference is that Toni never recovered. Her story is authentic and speaks right to the heart. Her journey and subsequent insight is thoughtful and uplifting.

Filled with easy-to-read practices, focused meditation ideas and lovely poetry, the book is a perfect blend of inspiration and encouragement. Toni's engaging teaching style shares traditional Buddhist wisdom in a format that is accessible to all readers. Full of hopefulness and promise, the valuable tools she offers are sure to comfort others who are suffering devastating loss and illness.

Toni's personal account throughout the chapters is very compelling but the book is so much more than that. Written as a road map for people suffering with illness and their caregivers, I find the advice an important supplement for the health practitioner too. It is too often that our doctors are unable to find answers to what ails us and have nowhere to direct us for support. With the publishing of this guide, they now have a useful alternative to "learn to live with it."

A lovingly written foreword by my favorite "Bubby Guru" Sylvia Boorstein is an added endorsement. Sylvia suggests that "this book is for all of us." I couldn't agree more.